Thursday Movie Picks: BOOKISH films

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday everyone! I’m a bit late to the TMP party but I love this week’s topic that I still want to participate. The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… BOOKISH movies.

I haven’t been able to participate on TMP lately but when I saw today’s topic I knew I had to take part! I guess this topic could be about movies based on books, but I see it as movies where books/literature play a central role or that the main characters love reading, so I’m going with that… and I’m choosing films set in England (because one day I’d love to shoot my feature film there!) Plus,  I have been reading quite a bit lately and I do LOVE movies about books!

In any case, here are my three picks:

The Bookshop (2017)

England 1959. In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop.

Books can be a great way to escape your mundane every day life or a way to cope with a traumatizing event. In this movie, the protagonist Florence (Emily Mortimer) copes with the loss of her husband through books and decided to open a bookshop in her town, which somehow ends up facing fierce opposition from powerful local elites.

It’s a rather slow film but I quite enjoy the reflective nature and you truly feel the pain Florence is going through. The scenes when at the bookshop really makes me sad that there aren’t that many brick + mortar book stores anymore.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

Matthew Goode as Juliet’s publisher + Lily James as Juliet

I have just rewatched this movie recently and it makes me wish I could visit Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. The protagonist Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is a London-based writer who, upon receiving a letter from the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (yep, that’s the name of the book club!), she decided to pay write a book about them and their experiences during the Nazi occupation.

I love that the film has a bit of investigative aspects as Juliet delved deeper into the lives of the book club’s members. Of course the book idea wasn’t exactly received warmly initially, and you get to figure out why that’s so. There’s of course a sweet romance between Juliet and Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), the one who wrote to her in the first place.


Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

Well, as a fan of Jane Austen, naturally I’d have to include a movie based on her books. But I chose Pride and Prejudice as the protagonist Elizabeth Bennet LOVES reading and there are scenes of her reading even as she’s walking about, not a care in the world as she’s so engrossed in the pages of her book. It makes me like her instantly and it’s a great way to distinguish her from her sisters… that she’d rather be lost in a good story than be bothered about ‘silly’ things like boys. That is of course until she meets Mr. Darcy.

I love that Lizzie’s first comment as she meets Mr. Bingley speaks about how much she loves reading…

The library at Netherfield, I’ve heard, is one of the finest in the country.

Now, Bingley’s own sister pretends to love reading when she said “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library,” but she only said that to attract Mr. Darcy’s attentions.


What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of them?

FlixChatter Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)


When this movie came across my screen as I fired up Netflix, I knew this is the kind of movie I’d enjoy. Billed as a ‘celebration of literature, love, and the power of the human spirit,’ it’s a charming film set in an English island during WWII. It certainly helps that I’m an Anglophile and British period dramas are my cup of tea, plus this is based on a historical novel written by two women, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

I adore Lily James since Cinderella, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. She’s an instantly-likable actress and it’s easy to warm up to her character, Juliet Ashton a young London writer living in the shadow of the war. Despite the fact that she’s pretty successful, lives in a gorgeous Chelsea flat, her dashing publisher Sidney (Matthew Goode) is also her bestie, and she’s courted by a handsome American soldier (Glen Powell), Juliet doesn’t seem to be as happy as one would think. But her life is about to take a different turn when she gets a letter from Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Yep, the mouthful title is a book club that inadvertently got started on a fateful night involving Nazi soldiers in the occupied island of Guernsey. As the correspondence goes on, Juliet is set on writing a book about the book club, and so off she goes to an island in the English channel off the coast of Normandy.

I love the idea of a young woman setting of on an adventure, especially in a time when it wasn’t as free for women to do so. And I also love the fact that Juliet isn’t too eager to marry a seemingly too-good-to-be-true prince charming. Naturally, Juliet was treated like a celebrity once they meet the members of the Society, and that first meet-up where she was presented with the potato peel dish is a group meet-cute. I adore every single member of the Society, Amelia (Penelope Wilton), Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay), Dawsey, Isola (Katherine Parkinson) and Eben (Tom Courtenay), the cast is a bit of a Downton Abbey mini-reunion with Goode, Findlay, Wilton and James herself were all part of the popular period drama cast. But despite their warm welcome, the group (especially Amelia) is vehemently opposed to the idea of Juliet writing an article about them for the Times.

The setback didn’t send Juliet immediately back to London. Instead she’s set on doing research about the German occupation on the island. As the group opens up to her more, she soon finds out about what has happened to Elizabeth. The less said about Juliet’s discovery the better, but it’s safe to say she has fallen in love with the town and the people in it. There’s a lovely tentative romance between Juliet and Dawsey (Huisman is sort of been type cast as romantic lead in period romances and he does well in these roles), but the bonding scenes between Juliet and the female members of the book club is equally delightful to watch. I have to say that Penelope Wilton is particularly memorable as the grieving mother. She’s a terrific character actress who can balance drama and comedy seamlessly.

Director Mike Newell (Four Weddings & A Funeral, 2012 Great Expectations) kept the tone pretty light despite some of the serious war-related scenes, he puts the focus more on the relationship between Juliet and the people she encounters. It sometimes feels like a rom-com, but with more at stakes given the time it’s set in. But it doesn’t quite escape the trappings of the genre in that the romance is completely predictable. Fortunately, there’s enough of a surprise surrounding the lives of the people involved and the poignant history they’ve been through that I’m still swept up and moved by it.

Visually and thematically, it feels something out of Jane Austen movies. It’s even more enchanting for me personally as the movie make some references Austen, as well as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. The set pieces are gorgeous, there’s something so immensely charming about the small, coastal English town. It wasn’t filmed in Guernsey however, but instead the coastal exterior was shot in various UK locations such as Cornwall, Bristol, etc.  I also love the 40s period clothing that makes everyone so vintage chic.

This is definitely ‘comfort food’ for fans of period dramas like me, but fortunately a nutritious one. Interestingly, this was supposed to be a Kenneth Branagh production with Kate Winslet in the title. As much as I’m intrigued by that prospect, I have to say I like Lily James as Juliet and I appreciate Newell’s old-school, unabashedly-sweet approach. I would have liked to have seen more of [bespectacled, Clark-Kent like] Matthew Goode, but I enjoyed seeing every bit of him every time he’s on screen.

I’m glad this movie is on Netflix as I’d readily watch it again. As a writer, one of the biggest appeal for me is how the movie is practically a wonderful love letter to the written word.


Have you seen The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? I’d love to hear what you think!